USS GUNSTON HALL, OFF THE COAST OF N.C. -- Sgt. Jose Alvarez fixes trucks and makes warriors.
The Bronx, N.Y., native serves a motor transportation mechanic with Headquarters Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. His job in the Marine Corps focuses on ensuring BLT 1/2s vehicles keep running. “Right now I am the shop chief so I supervise and oversee the maintenance of all of the vehicles with 1/2 and make sure they work to the best standard that they possibly can; so when an infantry man takes it out of the line they know it will help make their mission successful,” he said. Alvarez is also a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) black belt instructor trainer. Meaning: he not only teaches Marines the Corps’ personal brand of martial arts, he trains Marines to be able to train other Marines. “To some people, they look at MCMAP and they think its people just beating up each other,” he said. “But to the Marine Corps MCMAP is not just training a person physically, but mentally - to make sure the Marine is expanding his knowledge to make sure he becomes a better warrior, instead of just a better fighter,” he said. He is currently conducting a black belt course for Marines aboard the USS Gunston Hall during his spare time while at sea during the 24th MEU’s Certification Exercise (CERTEX) with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, which includes a series of missions intended to evaluate and certify the unit for their upcoming deployment.